March 18, 2010

Genealogy Resources Available at the Library

Genealogy has recently been in the media spotlight through two television shows: Who Do You Think You Are? and Faces of America. Both shows delve into the family histories of celebrities and famous Americans.

In NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, viewers are invited to take an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today's most beloved and iconic celebrities. Featured in the new series are Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith. In a recent episode, Sarah Jessica Parker learned that one of her ancestors was accused of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials! The show airs on Friday nights at 8 pm.

The eresource is NBC's official partner on the series, and is available for free in the Troy Library. The New England Historic Genealogical Society has also been featured on the show. The society’s New England Ancestors database is also available for free in the Library.

In PBS’s Faces of America, Henry Louis Gates, Jr asks, “What made America?” The Harvard scholar turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans including chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Meryl Streep was shocked to discovered that her ancestors were among the first purchasers of land in Pennsylvania along with William Penn! The show airs on Wednesday nights at 8 pm.

In addition to the resources listed above, the Library also offers the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, the Biography Resource Center, Heritage Quest Online, American’s Obituary & Death Notices and Michigan County Histories and Atlases. These eResources are available from home through the library’s website. All you need is a library card to explore your own fascinating family history!